What does child support cover? There is a lot of misunderstanding for parents, not just in Arizona but around the country. Does it only cover the basics like clothing and food? In actuality, child support is intended to cover many different expenses such as entertainment, medical care, school fees and, extracurricular activities among other concerns.

How Is Child Support Determined?

There are clear guidelines in Arizona that determine the amount of child support that another parent would be responsible for paying. There are many different factors taken into consideration in determining child support, including the parents’ income as well as the financial needs of the child and what it would take to continue a typical standard of living for that child. These factors are incorporated into the guidelines established in Arizona.

That being said, parents are not required to submit documents that prove that the payments they have received have gone towards specific activities. Generally, parents have a window of discretion with regard to how child support money is used. It is generally presumed that a parent who is paying the expenses of their household at least in part with their child support award, is paying towards the well-being of the child.

How Custody Relates to Expenses for the Children

The majority of the time, courts will assume that the parent who has physical custody over the child is responsible for paying necessary expenses associated with raising that child. This is why increased parenting time for the parent paying support generally leads to lower support payments.

In Arizona, child support ends when the child turns 18. If the child turns 18 while still in high school, support continues until they graduate but no later than age 19.  There are exceptions for this general rule for special needs children. In Arizona, child support is not ordered for college-age students or for college tuition (unless the child is under 18 and in college).

To understand how child support could influence your family and what you should do next if you still have questions, contact an Arizona family attorney.


This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding What Does Child Support Cover?, or any other family law issue,  please feel free to contact Steven H. Everts at 480.461.5300,  log on to udallshumway.com, or contact an attorney in your area. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.